|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-14-12||Kansas City Chiefs +4 v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10-38||Loss||-100||86 h 17 m||Show|
The line has been pushed up a bit with Brady Quinn getting the start. Quinn has never been very good in the NFL. He's been nothing but a conservative, checkdown type of quarterback. But in a matchup where points are going to be hard to come by, Quinn is exactly the type of quarterback the Chiefs need.
Kansas City has outgained its opponents by 415 yards. They've won the time of possession in all but one of their games. This is impressive considering the Chiefs have played a number of strong offenses and quarterbacks in going up against Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore and San Diego.
So why are the Chiefs a miserable 1-4? They are a staggering minus 15 in turnover ratio. Matt Cassel was a big reason for that with 13 turnovers, including a terrible goal line fumble last week that probably cost the Chiefs a straight-up win against Baltimore.
Tampa Bay is 1-3. They are more disciplined and better coached than last season under first-year taskmaster Greg Schiano. But the Buccaneers don't have the Chiefs' talent having lost their best offensive lineman, Darvin Joseph, and one of their best defensive players, end Adrian Clayborn, for the season. The Buccaneers have been outgained in every one of their games. If it weren't for a plus 3 turnover edge they likely wouldn't have covered a game all season.
The Bucs are going to be as conservative as the Chiefs with their erratic quarterback Josh Freeman. There is going to be a lot of running and the Chiefs hold a huge edge with Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs rank No. 2 in rushing averaging 180.8 yards per game on the ground. Charles is first in the league in rushing and total yards from scrimmage. He is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and looks to be 100 percent from last year's season-ending knee injury.
Tampa Bay ranks 27th in yards given up and is 30th in total offense. They don't have the skill position talent Kansas City does.
The Chiefs are better defensively than they've shown. Their offense has put their defense in tough holes due to frequent turnovers. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are one of the better duo pass rushers in the NFL. The underrated Houston has 13 1/2 sacks going back to Game 13 of last year. No player has more sacks during this time frame.
|10-14-12||Detroit Lions v. Philadelphia Eagles -3||26-23||Loss||-125||45 h 51 m||Show|
The line has gotten low enough where I confidently can back the Eagles. Michael Vick has been plagued by 11 turnovers. But Vick is in line for a monster game against a porous Lions secondary that is giving up 66 percent completions and does not have an interception.
Free safety Louis Delmas, Detroit's best defensive back, is set to make his season debut after being out following knee surgery. He's far from 100 percent, though.
The Lions have looked like an NFC version of the Raiders - undisciplined, sloppy and arrogant without the results to back anything up. Oh, yes, the Lions' special team coverage units are the worst in football.
The Lions are overrated because of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Defenses have taken advantage of Detroit's lack of a running attack, by playing deep zones thus limiting Stafford's big-play ability. The Eagles are solid against the run and have a top 10 pass defense.
There are numerous disturbing trends surrounding the Lions such as 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven road games, 0-8-1 ATS versus opponents with a winning record and 1-11 ATS against NFC competition.
The Eagles are clearly at least a level higher than the Lions, who are just 6-10 in their last 16 games. The spread has been reduced enough for us to get involved.
|10-08-12||Houston Texans -8 v. NY Jets||Top||23-17||Loss||-110||87 h 25 m||Show|
Through the first month of the season, the Texans have been the best team in football. The Texans are 4-0 for the first time in their 11-year history. They have been a pointspread covering machine going 18-5 ATS in their last 23 games.
They are anxious to show the country on national television, especially in the media center of the nation, just how good they are.
The Jets were a very flawed team before losing Darrelle Revis, their best defensive player, and Santonio Holmes, their lone playmaker on offense. Now they are a team in deep trouble devoid of their weapons and swagger.
The Texans aren't the kind of team that beats themselves. They have a balanced offense with the top running back in the league in Arian Foster. Matt Schaub is an accurate game-manager with receiving weapons Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels.
Wade Phillips, with the addition of J.J. Watt, has built Houston into a dominant defense. The Jets are going to have problems scoring and their defense is far from elite minus Revis.
Look for the Texans to grind out a double-digit victory.
|10-07-12||San Diego Chargers v. New Orleans Saints -3||24-31||Win||100||29 h 30 m||Show|
The Saints aren't going to make the playoffs. Not starting 0-4 and in a tough division. But they will be up for this nationally televised home game against an overrated foe.
Thanks to Drew Brees, the Saints still have an elite offense. Brees is at his absolute finest when playing at home. In his last nine games at the Louisiana Superdome, Brees is 236-of-351 (67 percent) for 3,029 yards and 32 touchdowns with just seven interceptions.
Yes, Brees does miss the coaching acumen of Sean Payton. But Brees still is on pace to throw for 5,400 yards and 40 touchdowns. The Saints are going to put up plenty of points on the Chargers. The key question is can the Saints' defense stop anyone?
The Saints lack talent on defense. They are not good tacklers, nor pass rushers. But they will get after Philip Rivers, spurred on by their home crowd in this matchup. This wil be the Saints' Super Bowl game.
Left tackle Jared Gaither is back to protect Philip Rivers' blind side. Gaither is a hupe upgrade for San Diego. But he is rusty after missing training camp, preseason and the first three games of the season with back problems.
The Chargers do not have a strong early-season history. Norv Turner has had much better teams at San Diego than this one. Still, his record with the Chargers during September and October is just 20-20.
San Diego is 3-1, but the lone time it stepped up in class it was buried. That came at home against the Falcons, who won 27-3. Victories against bad foes - Raiders, Titans and Chiefs - don't impress me. The Chargers were out-gained by the Chiefs, but won easily because of six Kansas City turnovers.
|10-07-12||Buffalo Bills v. San Francisco 49ers -9||Top||3-45||Win||100||134 h 53 m||Show|
I'm going to ride the Jim Harbaugh pointspread marching and lay this number before it reach double-digits. The 49ers are a fantastic 17-5-1 (77 percent) ATS in their last 22 games.
The Billls are a soft team playing the most physical opponent. Not only is this a grass game, but the Bills also are making a long trip reducing their practice time. Buffalo's confidence is down, too, after being steamrolled once again by the Patriots.
The 49ers return home after two weeks on the road. The 49ers' defense is top-rate. Their ground attack is much better than New England's and the Patriots gashed the Bills for 277 yards on the ground, averaging 6.1 yards per run. The Bills also struggle with tight ends and Vernon Davis is one of the best. He's averaged a touchdown per game in his last nine games.
Making matters worse for the Bills is they are not healthy offensively. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are coming off injuries. The Bills are likely to be without two starting offensive linemen, too, as left tackle Cordy Glenn and right guard Kraig Urbik were injured against the Patriots.
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||7-30||Loss||-110||58 h 20 m||Show|
The improved Vikings have been one of the feel-good stories during the first month of the season.
But now it's time to step in against Minnesota. The Titans won nine game last season. They are better off with veteran Matt Hasselbeck behind center in this matchup.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been drawing some nice publicity, but he's still a dink-and-dunker helped tremendously by Adrian Peterson and multi-talented Percy Harvin. The Titans' run defense is going to pick up with the return to health of middle linebacker Colin McCarthy.
The Titans outgained the Texas by 28 yards last week. They held Arian Foster in check. They can do the same with Peterson. Tennessee has been hurt by a minus 6 ratio. Expect fewer turnovers with the more experienced Hasselbeck in charge.
Chris Johnson showed signs of breaking out of his season-long funk as he rushed for 141 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, against an outstanding Houston defense.
The Titans aren't as bad as their record. The Vikings have been overachieving. Expect a correction to come in this game.
|10-07-12||Green Bay Packers -7 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||27-30||Loss||-100||106 h 28 m||Show|
It doesn't matter that the Colts are coming off a bye and the Packers probably aren't going to have Greg Jennings.
The Colts are a young team in total transition. Making things harder for the Colts is they have injuries on their offensive line and in their secondary. They also are down their well-liked first year head coach, Chuck Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia.
The Packers got their offense back in gear. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up plenty of points playing indoors against such a vulnerable defense.
Andrew Luck is going to be an elite quarterback. But right now he's a rookie and he's going to encounter problems with an improved Packer defense and their savvy defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who will be mixing up different looks and blitzes. The Colts are going to have problems containing Clay Matthews.
Green Bay hasn't been sharp on both sides of the ball. But now the Packers are stepping way down in class after playing the 49ers, Bears, Seahawks in Seattle and high-powered Saints.
This is the time to lay the wood with Green Bay.
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +6.5||9-6||Win||100||22 h 55 m||Show|
The NFL is all about when you play a team - and the timing is right for Kansas City in this matchup.
This is a flat spot for Baltimore. The Ravens are three straight prime time games. They scored a huge home revenge win against New England two weeks ago followed by a short turnaround last Thursday with a hard-played home victory against division rival Cleveland. That was their fourth game in 18 days. Up next after this game for Baltimore is a home game against Dallas. The Ravens have failed to cover the last four times they've faced an opponent with a losing record. They also are 1-3 ATS in their last four road non-division games.
The Ravens' defense isn't nearly as intimidating on the road and it's down this season minus their best pass rusher, Terrell Suggs. The Ravens can be run on to to the outside. Jamaal Charles is healthy again. A healthy Charles could be the most dangerous runner in the league. He's rushed for 325 yards in his last two games as he gets nearer to being 100 percent from last year's season-ending knee injury.
The Chiefs have outgained their opponents by 375 yards, an average of 87.5 yards per game. But are just 1-3 due to an NFL-worst 15 turnovers. Matt Cassel is in danger of losing his starting job. Cassel is never going to be an elite quarterback, but he can be a competent game-manager. He has the league's No. 1 ground attack behind him and a solid No. 1 receiving target in Dwayne Bowe.
Baltimore wins with its offense these days not its defense. The Chiefs have the pass rushers with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to disrupt Joe Flacco's timing, especially playing in noisy Arrowhead Stadium.
|09-30-12||Miami Dolphins +6 v. Arizona Cardinals||21-24||Win||100||54 h 18 m||Show|
Considering the lack of offense on both sides, taking this many points is huge.
The Cardinals' defense is playing well, but their offense has put up more than 23 points only once during the past 12 games. Aside from Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have no playmakers on offense and Kevin Kolb never has taken full advantage of Fitzgerald's considerable skills.
Miami ranks No. 3 in run defense giving up less than 2.5 yards per run. The Cardinals are 26th in rushing and their backfield depth took a hit with the loss of Beanie Wells. Arizona ranks 29th in passing yards and 31st in total offense. It's easy to knock rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Miami averages more than 100 yards per game than Arizona does. It's a big plus that Reggie Bush appears ready to play. He's the Dolphins' best weapon and is off to his finest start.
The Cardinals have the best record in the NFL during the last 12 regular-season games going 10-2. But Miami has covered five of its last six road games and is 7-1 ATS the past eight times when playing a foe with a winning record.
The Cardinals are on a nice roll, but the oddsmaker has caught up to them. This has all the makings of a play-for-field-position type of game that is decided by a field goal at the end.
|09-30-12||New England Patriots -4 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||52-28||Win||100||79 h 47 m||Show|
The Patriots haven't dropped three in a row since 2002 and that streak isn't going to end against Buffalo.
The Patriots have a losing record, but they very well could be unbeaten having been victimized in two games by replacement referees.
New England's improved defense can handle Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns during his last 13 games, and the Bills' backup running backs as it's doubtful if Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will be able to play.
The Bills aren't going to be able to keep up with the Patriots' high-powered attack that has overcome the loss of Aaron Hernandez by the improved running of Stevan Ridley, resurrecting Wes Welker and getting Brandon Lloyd comfortable in the offense. Then there's Rob Gronkowski, who has scored 24 touchdowns in the last 25 games.
The Patriots have owned the Bills beating the 16 of the last 17 times covering 12 of the 17 matchups.
|09-30-12||San Francisco 49ers -4 v. NY Jets||34-0||Win||101||70 h 30 m||Show|
Caught in a flat spot, the 49ers were upset by the Vikings on the road this past Sunday. The 49ers are spending the week in Youngstown, Ohio practicing and stewing about that defeat.
Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have always won and covered following a loss. They were 3-0 SU and ATS in that situation last season.
The 49ers have been a covering maching under Harbaugh going 14-6-1 (70 percent). The 49ers possess the most physical defense in the league. The Jets are weak at the skill positions. They are below average at quarterback, they lack a running back with speed and their wideouts are nothing special. The Jets are primarily a running team, but the 49ers have allowed only one rushing touchdown in their last six games.
The 49ers possess not only the better defense, but a much more balanced and effective offense. Alex Smith doesn't turn the ball over, Frank Gore is still fresh and the 49ers have a deeper set of wideouts and a star tight end, Vernon Davis. They can take advantage of a Jets squad that is now missing its best player, cornerback Darrelle Revis. There's a huge drop from Revis to backup Kyle Wilson.
|09-30-12||Tennessee Titans +13 v. Houston Texans||14-38||Loss||-110||20 h 27 m||Show|
Houston is unbeaten and getting lots of love from the media and betting markets. But this line has become over inflated.
Let's keep in mind, the Texans have played Miami, Jacksonville and Denver. Each of those teams has a losing record. Jake Locker is the second-best quarterback the Texans have seen.
The Titans received a huge needed boost of confidence with their overtime victory last week against Detroit. This is a division game that means a lot more to the Titans in their battle to reach the playoffs. The Texans play next Monday night on national television against the Jets and then have huge home marquee matchups against Green Bay and Baltimore.
The Titans were an above .500 team last season. Their defense and running back Chris Johnson are better than they've shown so far. They are due for much better performances. The Texans are due for a fall. I see a close game here.
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-118||13 h 4 m||Show|
The house absolutely will be rocking in Seattle, which already is the loudest outdoor venue in pro football. Seattle is more physical than Green Bay, but the Seahawks' offense won't be able to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' high octane offense. The crowd isn't going to bother the composed Rodgers either.
Seattle has to pay lip service to Green Bay's ground now that Cedric Benson is in the backfield and its secondary doesn't have enough talented bodies to prevent Rodgers from having a big game. It's a plus if Greg Jennings plays for Green Bay. I would be surprised if he doesn't play.
Rookie Russell Wilson is a nice story, but the fact is Seattle ranks last in passing and is 29th in total offense. The Packers have improved their pass rush during the last two weeks. Marshawn Lynch is the key to the Seahawks' attack. The Packers are decent against the run and will be keying on Lynch. The Packers run a similar zone running scheme as Seattle so they will be well-coached and well-positioned to defend Lynch.
The Packers have a history of starting fast under Mike McCarthy covering in 14 of their last 20 September games. They are the superior team and will cover this short number.
|09-23-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Arizona Cardinals +3.5||6-27||Win||100||81 h 33 m||Show|
Guess which team has the best NFC record during the last 11 games? Go to the head class if you answered the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals are 9-2 during their past 11 games. They don't get any respect because of their quarterback difficulties, but their defense is highly underrated. The Cardinals haven't allowed more than 23 points in any game during the past 11 matchups. During this span, the Cardinals have an NFL-best 33 sacks. Darryl Washington is a stud linebacker.
The Cardinals have captured their last six home games. They catch the Eagles off a victory against Baltimore and hosting the Giants next week. The Eagles are 2-0 with two one-point wins, including a sloppy victory against lowly Cleveland. The Eagels have already turned the ball over nine times and committed 19 penalties. They are not in sync yet despite their 2-0 record.
The Eagles also suffered three key injuries last week losing their center, offensive left tackle and most consistent wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin. Losing center Jason Kelce for the year really hurts Philadelphia as its backup is inexperienced.
The Cardinals beat the Eagles at Philadelphia last season, 21-17. They are more than capable of beating them at home this season especially considering the Eagles are in a flat spot and have yet to look impressive.
|09-23-12||Cincinnati Bengals +3.5 v. Washington Redskins||38-31||Win||100||124 h 17 m||Show|
The Bengals are a playoff-tested team that has superior receivers to Washington and a defense that has placed in the top 10 during two of the last three seasons.
This will be the toughest defense Robert Griffin III has faced. Griffin was great versus the Saints. He was good last week against the Rams. Look for his play to drop a notch from those performances against the Bengals. This also is the first time Griffin, who played his college ball on artificial turf at Baylor, will be on grass. Both of Griffin's first two NFL games were on carpet inside a dome. He won't be quite as quick and fast on grass.
The Bengals will be able to move the ball on the Redskins. Washington's pass rush took a huge hit last week with season-ending injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker. In addition, cornerback Josh Wilson suffered a concussion.
|09-23-12||NY Jets -1 v. Miami Dolphins||23-20||Win||100||56 h 21 m||Show|
Superior defense, superior quarterback and a good situation are all reasons why I like the Jets to defeat the Dolphins by more than a field goal. It's safe to say that before Week 2, the Jets would have been much higher favorites than this.
Miami was perceived as being maybe the worst team in football after being buried by the Texans in Week 1. But because the Dolphins caught the Raiders traveling cross country on a short week with an early start time, they were able to bury Oakland in the second half last week. Now the Dolphins appear much better to the public.
Right now the Raiders could be the worst team in the NFL. The Dolphins, though, aren't much better going with overmatched rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He's going to struggle against the Jets, which have a top-seven quality defense especially with Derrelle Revis expected to play after missing last week. The Jets have held the Dolphins to a combined 35 points in their last three meetings.
Mark Sanchez isn't better than many NFL starting quarterbacks, but he's still a level higher than Tannehill. He also has more receiving options, especially with tight end Dustin Keller expected to return to the lineup.
Miami is off a win while the Jets are off a loss and face tough matchups in the next two weeks when they meet San Francisco and Houston.
|09-23-12||San Francisco 49ers v. Minnesota Vikings +7||13-24||Win||100||22 h 54 m||Show|
Stepping in against Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers' speeding train isn't the easiest thing to do. But this is the spot to do it.
This is a flat spot for the 49ers, who have failed to cover the past three times they've been a road favorite. San Francisco opened with an impressive road win against the Packers. They followed that up by beating the Lions at home. So they go from Aaron Rodgers to Matthew Stafford to Christian Ponder. Even the fiery Harbaugh may have trouble getting his team up for this matchup. The 49ers travel to the Big Apple next week to face the Jets in the media center of the country.
But first comes this matchup. San Francisco is making the long journey from the West Coast. The 49ers played in the Sunday night game last week and have an early start time here, which almost always is a negative for a West Coast team playing on East Coast time. This also is the 49ers' first game in a dome stadium after playing on outdoor grass in their first two games.
The Vikings are dangerous at home with one of the loudest indoor stadiums. Jared Allen can disrupt the timing of any offensive line, Ponder is much improved in his second season and Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin are a pair of dangerous playmakers. So the Vikings don't lack for weapons.
The 49ers aren't built for covering large spreads. They are very conservative on offense. Alex Smith is an efficient game-manager. He doesn't attack downfield.
|09-17-12||Denver Broncos v. Atlanta Falcons -3||Top||21-27||Win||100||13 h 12 m||Show|
I consider Denver improved with Peyton Manning replacing Tim Tebow behind center. But I don't consider the Broncos to be a heavyweight yet. It's going to take a heavyweight to beat the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta has won 26 of 32 games at home since Mike Smith became head coach. Matt Ryan is 26-4 inside Georgia Dome. This may be Smith's best team yet.
The Broncos haven't won a road game against a team that went to the playoffs in the same season since 2009.
I'd take Ryan at home over Manning right now. This is just Manning's second game in more than a year. He looked good against the Steelers at home last week, but there is rust.
I also would take Atlanta's wideouts, Julio Jones and Roddy White, over any of Denver's wide receivers. Jones may be the second best wide receiver in football next to Calvin Johnson. I also like the Falcons' tight end Tony Gonzalez against anything Denver offers.
The Falcons have the weapons to successfully spread out the field. The Broncos still have to pay lip service to bullish Michael Turner in the backfield.
Atlanta also has a less publicized ace in the hole in Mike Nolan. Not only is he one of the more respected defensive coordinators in the game, but he also was the Broncos' defensive coordinator so he knows Denver's protection schemes. The Broncos still run some of those same schemes from when Nolan was there.
|09-16-12||NY Jets v. Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5||10-27||Win||100||49 h 4 m||Show|
I don't put much stock in the Jets putting up 48 points against the Bills in Week 1. New York's offense isn't as bad as it looked during preseason when it scored just one touchdown while the team went 0-4 SU and ATS. But it's not nearly as good as it looked against Buffalo either.
The Jets put up defensive and special teams touchdowns while their offense faced little resistant from a Bills defense that didn't rush the passer well or defend against the pass.
This matchup is going to be quite different for the Jets facing an angry Steeler team that lost on national television this past Sunday night. The Steelers ranked first in pass defense last season and will have free safety Ryan Clark back and possibly star linebacker James Harrison.
The Steelers have covered each of the last eight times they've lost a game. If they need any extra motivation, all they have to do is look across the field and spot Tim Tebow, who ended their season in 2011 with a long touchdown pass in overtime.
Mark Sanchez is a below average quarterback and he lacks consistent reliable targets. Tight end Dustin Keller is out and Santonio Holmes has gone 26 straight games without reaching 100 receiving yards. The Steelers won't let their ex-teammate do anything to beat them.
The Jets' defense is far more respectable than their offense, but will be missing star cornerback Darrelle Revis. This is a huge plus for Ben Roethlisberger and a Pittsburgh offense that has become more pass-heavy under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
|09-16-12||Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||17-35||Loss||-113||139 h 56 m||Show|
The Chiefs' defense is much better than it looked opening week when they were down several injured defensive players and minus suspended Tamba Hali, their best pass rusher. They will be in much better shape this week as Hali returns from his suspension.
The Chiefs have far more talent than Buffalo. They have six No. 1 draft picks on defense and Jamaal Charles on offense. Charles is by far the best player on either team's offense. The Bills could be without their most reliable running back, Fred Jackson. He suffered a knee injury in the Bills' loss to the Jets.
Buffalo has been terrible since the second half of last season. The Bills are 1-8 in their last nine games losing six of those games by 16 or more points. This doesn't include a winless preseason either.
The Bills can't keep getting away with starting Ryan Fitzpatrick. He led the NFL in interceptions last season with 23 and already has thrown three this season.
This is a big revenge spot for the Chiefs after the Bills embarrassed them, 41-7, at Arrowhead Stadium in their opener last year. That was the Chiefs' worst opening loss ever.
It' a bonus to get this many points with the Chiefs as they should win this game straight-up. The Chiefs have covered nine of the last 11 times they've been underdogs.
|09-16-12||Minnesota Vikings v. Indianapolis Colts +1.5||20-23||Win||100||139 h 55 m||Show|
The Colts are at least a field goal better than the Vikings at home. Even though Adrian Peterson scored two touchdowns in a surprising Week 1 performance, I'm not convinced he's 100 percent healthy yet.
I like the Colts' passing game with Andrew Luck much more than the Vikings' feeble passing attack. Reggie Wayne still has something left in the tank and this week the Colts could get back their best receiver, Austin Collie.
Indianapolis going to surprise people this season. Chuck Pagano has a solid defensive mind and has good building blocks with cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Vontae Davis. Robert Mathis still is a supreme pass rusher no matter where he lines up on the field.
Luck was overshadowed by Robert Griffin III this past Sunday, but make no mistake Luck is an elite talent. Look for him to make his mark against a feeble Vikings secondary that actually made Blaine Gabbert look respectable.
|09-10-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Baltimore Ravens -7||Top||13-44||Win||100||22 h 4 m||Show|
Get ready to move Joe Flacco into elite status. Flacco is going to be much improved this season as the Ravens are changing their offense to fit his strength going with an up-tempo, no huddle attack. Ray Rice is going to put up good numbers, too. He's ran for 681 yards against the Bengals in eight career games, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and nearly 120 all-purpose yards.
Baltimore's defense is missing its best pass rusher, Terrell Suggs, but still is solid and intimidating at home. The Ravens will be able to take advantage of the Bengals' losing starting offensive linemen Kyle Cook and Travelle Wharton for the season.
I'm not impressed with Cincinnati's offense. Andy Dalton has too many limitations. In his last nine games, he's accounted for just seven touchdowns with 12 turnovers. Aside from A.G. Green, Dalton lacks weapons. The Bengals aren't as strong at running back and wide receiving depth as they were last season. Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis is a plodder whose lone strength is scoring short-yardage touchdowns. He's going to be no help when the Bengals fall behind.
Baltimore usually gets off fast in September under John Harbaugh covering nine of its last 12 September games. The Bengals started off 6-2 last season taking advantage of playing the league's easiest first-half schedule. But when the schedule got tougher they finished 3-6 losing their last two games, 24-16, at home to the Ravens and to the Texans, 31-10, in the playoffs. They failed to defeat a playoff team.
|09-09-12||New England Patriots -5 v. Tennessee Titans||Top||34-13||Win||100||90 h 37 m||Show|
No coach is better than Bill Belichick with extra preparation time. The Patriots are 8-0 in their first game of the season during the past eight years. Belichick can really concentrate on this matchup since the Patriots host lowly Arizona next week.
New England is going to be much improved defensively. Belichick is going to throw a lot of different looks at inexperienced Jake Locker and he now has better chess pieces in which to maneuver. Locker brings more excitement to Tennessee's offense than over-the-hill Matt Hasselbeck, but he's not nearly as accurate as Locker.
The Titans aren't going to be able to keep up with New England's high-powered offense. The Patriots averaged more than 30 points per game during their first five games last year and Tom Brady has a better wide receiving target to pair with Wes Welker in Brandon Lloyd. The Titans lack the pass rushing skills to disrupt Brady.
New England should be better on the ground, too, with Stevan Ridley showing improvement. He's faster, slicker and more of a pass-catching threat than the Patriots' main ballcarrier from last season, plodding Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis.
|09-09-12||Philadelphia Eagles -8 v. Cleveland Browns||17-16||Loss||-105||89 h 20 m||Show|
I don't see the Browns and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden being able to keep up with the high octane Eagles offense.
The Browns are missing defensive tackle Phil Taylor and several of their linebackers. They are inexperienced on offense. Weeden had trouble handling the speed of the pro game during preseason along with lacking NFL pocket presence and had accuracy issues. The Browns are counting on another rookie, Trent Richardson, to shore up their offense. But Richardson didn't get any preseason reps because his knee was scoped. He may only see limited duty.
The Eagles were a lot better than their record last season. They ranked in the top 10 offensively and defensively and were playing much better down the stretch. The Eagles have way too many weapons for the limited Browns defense to handle.
Cleveland hasn't been very good at home going 2-8-2 ATS in its last 12 home contests. The Browns also have historically been disappointing on opening day losing their past seven openers while going 0-6-1 ATS.
The two teams met in a preseason game a little more than two weeks ago. The Eagles easily won, 27-10. The key about that game was the Eagles' backups out-played the Browns starters. The Eagles bothered Weeden anytime they brought pressure even though they were being somewhat vanilla. It's going to be worse now for Weeden.
|09-09-12||Miami Dolphins v. Houston Texans -11.5||10-30||Win||100||89 h 14 m||Show|
Those who bet early on Houston have the best of the number. This number has really steamed since opening just minus seven. Still, the Texans are worth a unit laying double-digits as they will beat the Dolphins by at least two touchdowns.
Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are healthy giving the Texans an excellent passing attack to go with one of the best ground games in football. The Dolphins were decent defensively last year, but have retooled their defense so growing pains are going to occur.
Miami's real problems, though, are going to be on offense where Ryan Tannehill is set to make his NFL debut. He's going to make it on the road against one of the best defenses in the league. The Texans just may have the best front seven in football. Even losing Mario Williams in free-agency, they still have five dangerous pass rushers in J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin and rookie Whitney Mercilus. The Dolphins are likely to be without their best protector, left tackle Jake Long.
Making things even worse for Tannehill is the Dolphins lack good skill position players. They may have the weakest set of receivers in the AFC. Miami's wide receivers can't get open and they can't catch. Tannehill won't be able to handle the Texans' defensive speed and he has no one to rely on or bail him out.
Houston has been very good in a favorite's role going 8-3-1 ATS the past 12 times it has been chalk.
|09-09-12||St Louis Rams v. Detroit Lions -8||Top||23-27||Loss||-110||35 h 43 m||Show|
The oddsmaker isn't at his sharpest opening week and it showed with this line. The Lions will beat the Rams by double-digits.
Jeff Fisher is under no pressure to turn around the Rams right away. It's going to be a long-term thing and ownership knows that. The Rams have 31 new players.
Matchup-wise, this game is a nightmare for the Rams. They have a rebuilt defensive front seven and two rookies in the secondary. Growing pains are evident. They have no one who can remotely guard Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford is a top-five quarterback when playing at home. He should have no problem lighting up a porous Rams defense.
The Lions have covered 11 of their last 16 home games, while the Rams are 1-9 ATS during their past 10 road contests.
The Lions hosted the Rams two years ago and won, 44-6. So what has changed? The Lions have improved as Stafford has become an elite quarterback while the Rams are still rebuilding.
|09-05-12||Dallas Cowboys v. NY Giants -3.5||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||17 h 12 m||Show|
Dallas would have a tough time beating the Giants on the road if it was healthy. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they are not close to being healthy.
There's a strong possibility Dallas could be missing star nose tackle Jay Ratliff and cornerback Mike Jenkins. On offense, Tony Romo could be without his two best possession receiving targets - Jason Witten and Miles Austin.
Dallas' offensive line hasn't been looking good, which is another concern especially facing one of the best pass rushing defensive lines in the NFL. Last year, the Giants sacked Tony Romo nine times in two games.
The Cowboys have failed to cover during their last six division games and have had trouble stopping Eli Manning. Last year, Manning threw for 746 yards and five touchdowns. Now he goes against a revamped youthful Cowboy secondary that has promise, but is short on experience at the corners and will be vulnerable in this spot.
The Giants swept Dallas last year, including winning by 17 points at home, and have covered five of the last six in the series.
|02-05-12||NY Giants v. New England Patriots -2.5||21-17||Loss||-115||258 h 17 m||Show|
Look for the Hall of Fame combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to get it done. The Patriots still feel the sting of being upset by the Giants in the Super Bowl four years ago when they were 18-0.
Certainly the Giants will be just as motivated as New England, but there will be zero chance of the Patriots not fully respecting the Giants.
My pick isn't based on anything negative against the Giants. I like Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning has had a great year and the Giants' defense got hot late when their outstanding front line became full healthy.
As good as Manning has been this season, he's still trumped by Brady. Brady is in the highest tier of quarterbacks with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. He broke Dan Marino's yardage mark this season with 5,239 yards while also throwing 39 touchdown passes.
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz were the only teammates to each have more than 1,000 yards in receiving. But the Patriots were the only team to have three players with more than 900 receiving yards - Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The Patriots don't have the Giants' receiving speed at the flanks, but Gronkowski and Hernandez are hybrid tight ends who will cause the Giants major matchup problems. So will Welker with his quick slants across the middle. Brady can beat the Giants' excellent pass rush with these quick, timing plays that have been honed to perfection. He's far less likely to be sacked five times like he was when the Giants upset the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl when Randy Moss downfield was his major target.
Brady can take full advantage of a Giants secondary that yielded 4,082 yards through the air. Only three teams allowed more.
Gronkowski is redefining the tight end position breaking the single-season record at the position for touchdowns with 17 and hauling in 15 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns during the Patriots' two playoff victories.
The Giants have been performing better than any team, but the extra week off is going to slow their momentum. I like Belichick more than any other coach when given extra time to prepare.
New England's defense isn't as bad as perceived. Yes, the Patriots surrendered lots of yardage. But they were 15th in fewest points, 14th in sacks and had 34 takeaways. Only two teams had more takeaways.
|01-22-12||NY Giants +3 v. San Francisco 49ers||20-17||Win||100||77 h 38 m||Show|
In this day and age in the NFL offense trumps defense. The Giants have the superior quarterback, much better wide receivers, a dominant pass rush and loads of momentum.
This will prove enough to overcome the 49ers, who are inexperienced in playoff games and still walking on air after last week's tremendous victory against New Orleans.
Alex Smith played the finest game of his career versus the Saints last week. I don't see Smith duplicating that effort. He hasn't thrown for 300 yards all season and his wide receivers are barely adequate. The Giants will be paying full attention to tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers' lone legitimate receiving threat.
Lost in the glare of the 49ers' great win against the Saints was the fact that Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes and shredded San Francisco's perceived great defense for 462 yards.
The 49ers just nipped the Saints in the final nine seconds despite a plus 4 turnover advantage. Now the 49ers do have an NFL-best plus 28 turnover ratio and it's not a fluke because their defense hits hard, but it's highly doubtful the 49ers are going to have a big turnover edge on the Giants.
If Eli Manning isn't an elite quarterback, he's close. He threw for nearly 5,000 yards. Manning is a proven commodity in the playoffs, too, with a 4-1 postseason road record with a 9-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those games.
The 49ers are extremely tough to run on, but their secondary isn't that strong. The few times the 49ers faced good quarterbacks they gave up big chunks of yardage. This was the case against Tony Romo, Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford and Manning. The 49ers were fortunate to draw the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger was hobbled.
Manning has the NFL's best wide receiving tandem - Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz - to throw to. The Giants' ground attack has picked up, too, with the return to health of Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants are 21-4 when Bradshaw rushes for 60 or more yards.
The Giants are playing the best football in the league steamrolling the Jets, Cowboys, Falcons and Packers in do-or-die matchups. No team can match their defensive line when it comes to pass rushing. The Giants have recorded six sacks and 12 hits on the quarterback in their two playoff games.
While the Giants were winning must-win games against tough opponents, the 49ers were sailing through the weak NFC West. Before defeating the Saints, the 49ers had played the Rams, Seattle, beat-up Pittsburgh, Arizona and St. Louis.
|01-22-12||Baltimore Ravens +9 v. New England Patriots||Top||20-23||Win||100||73 h 9 m||Show|
The Patriots absolutely crush Tim Tebow and Denver, while Baltimore fails to cover against Houston and its third-string rookie quarterback.
What does it mean? An inflated pointspread that's what.
Tom Brady is having another magnificent year. But as the Saints and Packers found out the hard way last week a great quarterback can't compensate for a weak defense at the upper level playoff stage.
New England ranked 31st in total defense and passing yards. The Patriots' defense can't compare to Baltimore's defense. The Ravens have a much stronger pass rush and secondary. They gave up nearly 2,000 fewer yards than the Patriots. That's mind-boggling. So is the fact that Baltimore surrendered 1.6 yards less per pass and 1.1 yards less per run than the Patriots.
Still, the oddsmaker is swayed by Brady and the marketplace to make the Patriots a strong touchdown or more favorite.
This is a slap in the face to the Ravens. During the John Harbaugh era, the Ravens have won playoff games at four different road sites. This includes a 33-14 victory against the Patriots at Foxboro just two years ago. They also have covered 88 percent of the time during the Harbaugh years when getting 7 1/2 or more points.
The Ravens aren't fancy, but they are very solid. Joe Flacco has passed for more than 3,600 yards each of the last three seasons, Ray Rice is one of the best all-purpose backs in football and Anquan Boldin is one of the league's better possession wide receivers.
Baltimore's defense ranked in the top four in all the major statistical categories, including third in fewest points at 16.6 and in total yards at 288.9. The Ravens also won all seven games they played this season versus playoff teams.
The only playoff teams the Patriots went up against besides the bogus Broncos were the Steelers and Giants. New England lost both of those games.
Aside from Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots don't have any big stars. Their running backs are mediocre, they lack speed at wide receiver and their offensive line is banged-up.
The Ravens have the coaching, playoff experience, veteran leadership, top runner and outstanding defense to hang in against the Patriots if not win straight-up just like they did two years ago.
|01-15-12||Houston Texans v. Baltimore Ravens -7.5||Top||13-20||Loss||-110||65 h 9 m||Show|
Kudos to the Houston Texans for winning the AFC South and making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Taking out Cincinnati in the first-round was a bonus.
But now the Texans have gone as far as they can possibly go with 12 players on injured reserve and being led by limited third-string rookie quarterback T.J. Yates.
Just once has Baltimore lost at home during the past two seasons in going 15-1 at M&T Bank Stadium. Make no mistake, this is a strong home field advantage, especially when a rookie quarterback has to face the Ravens in Baltimore.
Yates has thrown just four touchdown passes in his six starts. The Texans are 3-3 in these starts. They rely on a solid defense and a top-notch ground attack spearheaded by Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
Baltimore has an excellent run defense, though, particularly at home where it has yielded an average of just 83 yards on the ground and only three rushing touchdowns. Foster is going to be constantly looking at a stacked front line.
Yates is going to have to make downfield plays for the Texans to have a chance - and I don't see that happening. Yates doesn't have the experience and is going against too good of a defense at one of the toughest road venues in the league. Yates also is playing with a separated left shoulder.
The Ravens have allowed an average of 16 points at home during the past two seasons. Their defensive intensity, intimidation and blitzing all goes way up at home. Yates was sacked every 6.3 times he tried to throw when opponents blitzed. Only Chicago's pathetic backup quarterback Caleb Hanie had a worst percentage. The Ravens had 48 sacks during the season, with 68 percent of them coming at home.
Baltimore already has defeated four playoff teams at home this season - the Steelers, Texans, Bengals and 49ers. The Ravens held those four opponents to an average of 13 points.
The Ravens defeated the Texans, 29-14, in Week 6 when the Texans still had starting quarterback Matt Schaub. The Ravens held the Texans to less than 300 yards of offense, including 93 on the ground. The Ravens have never lost to the Texans in five lifetime meetings.
It's not just Baltimore's defense that is better at home. Ray Rice and Joe Flacco also are much better at M&T Bank Stadium. Rice averages 132 yards rushing at home and 1 1/2 touchdowns per home game.
Flacco has a 4-3 playoff record. Those games have all been on the road. Now he's finally home and will have veteran wideout Anquan Boldin available. Flacco has fired seven touchdown passes during his last four home contests.
The Texans' defense is going to get worn down from carrying what's become a one-dimensional offense that failed to score more than 22 points during their last six regular-season games with Yates at the control.
The Ravens are well-rested and will be fully prepared. Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens have gone 4-0 following a bye during the regular season with all four of those victories coming by 15 or more points.
|01-14-12||New Orleans Saints -3.5 v. San Francisco 49ers||32-36||Loss||-110||50 h 28 m||Show|
Look, I'm just not sold on the 49ers. Yes, they had a great regular season with a strong defense.
But they don't have enough offense to keep up with the Saints.
The Saints would be vulnerable in this matchup if they were one-dimensional and if there were going to be weather issues. Neither is the case, though. The Saints actually have a strong ground attack with four quality runners and the weather is going to be nice with temperatures in the 60s and no rain.
Just because the Saints are great indoors at home doesn't mean they can't produce on a grass field. Drew Brees is too hot and has too many weapons for the 49ers to shut down New Orleans.
The Saints are averaging 34.2 points a game. They've only lost the ball 19 times, which was the fourth-fewest in the league. A large part of San Francisco's success was tying for first in takeaways with 38.
Brees is playing his finest ball, which is saying a lot. He has a 17-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last four games. His quarterback rating in outdoor games was still above 100 percent.
Note, too, the Saints are 12-4 outdoors during the last three seasons.
The Saints have won nine in a row with seven of those victories coming by 11 or more points. They have produced at least 42 points during their last four games.
The 49ers can't come close to matching that. Sure San Francisco's defense is much better than Detroit's and Atlanta's - two playoff teams the Saints beat during the last four weeks - but it's strength is run defense not pass defense.
New Orleans has far more big-game experience, too, than San Francisco. The 49ers aren't as battle tested playing in a far easier conference. The 49ers' last five games were two matchups against the Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals and Steelers with a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger.
The Saints' defense is adept at blitzing. The 49ers are vulnerable when forced to pass. They gave up 44 sacks, seventh-highest in the league.
New Orleans has enough edges, including a major one at quarterback, to win by more than a field goal.
|01-08-12||Pittsburgh Steelers -8 v. Denver Broncos||Top||23-29||Loss||-110||99 h 48 m||Show|
I know some team has to represent the AFC West in the playoffs, but Denver being in is an absolute joke.
The Tim Tebow magic is long gone. There are at least 22 teams better than the Broncos.
In the last three games, the Broncos have averaged 13.3 points. They managed that puny total against the Patriots, Bills and Chiefs.
Now Denver is looking at an elite defense: Pittsburgh. The Steelers give up the fewest points and yards. They are tops against the pass and rank in the top 10 in run defense.
The line opened much lower than I thought because Pittsburgh is banged-up. Rashard Mendenhall is out and Ben Roethlisberger has a bad ankle. Still, Roethlisberger on one leg is far better than a healthy Tebow. The Steelers also have the much better receiving corps with game-breakers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown.
Roethlisberger's injury gets the attention, but the Broncos also have several key injuries. They could be down to their third string guard with starter Chris Kuper definitely out. Fullback Spencer Larsen is hurt as is safety Brian Dawkins their most experienced defensive back and leader of their secondary.
The Broncos' defense is worn down from having to carry such a weak offense for so long. Star rookie linebacker Von Miller hasn't had a sack during the last three weeks.
The Steelers are playoff tested having gone 9-2 SU and ATS in the postseason since 2005. The Broncos last made the playoffs in 2005. Pittsburgh has covered 10 of its last 11 January games.
The Steelers hold every edge except home-field advantage. But that certainly can't save Denver. The Steelers are at least two-touchdowns better no matter where this game is played.
|01-01-12||Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 v. Denver Broncos||7-3||Win||100||84 h 22 m||Show|
The wheels are coming off for overachieving Denver and Tim Tebow.
In the last two weeks, the Broncos have lost by 18 points to New England at home and by 26 to Buffalo, which had lost seven in a row.
Defenses have figured out Tebow and the Broncos' lopsided reliance on the run. The Chiefs have recent exposure on Tebow having lost to the Broncos, 17-10, in Week 10. They will be ready for him.
The Chiefs have excellent cornerbacks who can cover one-on-one leaving the rest of their defense to key on Tebow and Willis McGahee.
If you discount a 35-point effort in the dome against Minnesota, the Broncos are averaging just 16.6 points in their last six games.
The Chiefs are motivated to win for popular interim coach Romeo Crennel, especially Kyle Orton. He was waived by Denver last month after being the Broncos' starter for nearly 2 1/2 seasons.
Kansas City's offense has been much better since Orton became its starter two games ago putting up 438 and 435 yards of offense.
Denver's defense is worn down from bailing out its offense and the Broncos' secondary is young and banged-up.
The youthful Broncos are not used to pressure situations like this having not made the playoffs since 2005.
|01-01-12||San Diego Chargers +3 v. Oakland Raiders||38-26||Win||100||61 h 48 m||Show|
The Raiders own the better record, but the Chargers are the better team.
The question here comes down to motivation and poise. Oakland wins the AFC West with a victory. The Chargers are out of it.
It's highly likely this is Norv Turner's last game as Chargers coach. Turner has been miscast as a head coach, but his players like him. They will play hard for him. There also is no love lost between the Chargers and the Raiders, who beat San Diego in Week 10, 24-17.
The Chargers have the firepower to beat the Raiders. The Chargers also can win by the Raiders giving them the game. I don't trust or like Oakland in a must-win type of spot. The Raiders have failed to cover 14 of the last 18 times they've been a home favorite.
The Raiders are undisciplined and don't take care of the football. Carson Palmer has 15 interceptions in nine games. The Raiders are probably going to break the NFL season-record for penalties and penalty yards.
Oakland hasn't been able to stop great passers this month getting rocked by Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Philip Rivers is an elite quarterback.
The Chargers have been a strong December team under Turner winning 12 of the last 14 times. San Diego blew out Baltimore, Buffalo and Jacksonville before losing last week on the road against the Lions.
The Raiders have been outgained by 268 yards on the season. They have allowed 44 more first downs. San Diego, on the other hand, has outgained its foes by 801 yards and has made 51 more first downs.
|01-01-12||Baltimore Ravens -1 v. Cincinnati Bengals||24-16||Win||100||61 h 31 m||Show|
I like the Ravens to cover this short number. I'm not saying the Ravens don't have flaws. They certainly do. Joe Flacco isn't very accurate, the team hasn't performed well on the road and special teams aren't great.
But the Ravens are a legitimate playoff team and Super Bowl contender. Cincinnati is not. The Bengals are more about overachieving than being a playoff team.
Who have the Bengals beaten? Nobody. The only above .500 team Cincinnati has won against is 8-7 Tennessee. The Bengals have lost to the Broncos, 49ers, Texans, Steelers twice and to the Ravens, 31-24, in Week 11 after Baltimore build a 31-14 lead.
Baltimore is 7-0 in its AFC North Division games. The Bengals have feasted on bad opponents and bad quarterbacks having the good fortunate to go against six backup quarterbacks.
Cincinnati's defense is good, but it's trumped by the Ravens, which rank No. 2 in rush defense, No. 3 in fewest points at 16.7 and No. 3 in total defense.
Baltimore's Ray Rice is the best skill-position player on the field. Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has tailed off. He has as many interceptions, six, as touchdown throws during the last seven weeks. He hasn't cleared 200 yards passing since November.
Star wideout A.J. Green is the Bengals' top playmaker and Dalton's top target. However, Green has a sore shoulder that hampers his play. He played in spite of the injury last week but could only manage two receptions for 25 yards.
|01-01-12||Indianapolis Colts +4 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||13-19||Loss||-110||105 h 55 m||Show|
The wrong team is favored in this one.
Right now Indianapolis is plain better than Jacksonville. The Colts are playing their best ball having won two in a row knocking off Tennessee, an above .500 team, and Houston, a division champion.
Jacksonville is decimated physically - down 12 defensive backs including their top four corners - and mentally.
Playing at home means nothing for the Jaguars because their apathetic fans don't care about this matchup and won't come out.
The Colts' offense is better with Dan Orlovsky at quarterback. He has three good wide receivers to throw to. The Jaguars don't have nearly the secondary depth, or decent pass rush, to bother Orlovsky.
Jacksonville is laying more than a field goal yet averaging less than 15 points per game. The Jaguars rank last in total offense and in passing yards.
The Colts will be keying on Maurice Jones-Drew knowing overmatched rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and his pedestrian wideouts can't hurt them.
The Colts also have had extra time to prepare and rest having last played on Thursday.
The Colts have a number of proud veterans. The team isn't going to lie down in order to land the first overall pick, especially when it's not crucial with Peyton Manning coming back.
|01-01-12||Buffalo Bills v. New England Patriots -11||Top||21-49||Win||100||94 h 0 m||Show|
New England is at least three touchdowns better than Buffalo at home.
The key for the Patriots is motivation. And the Patriots should have plenty of that. They still need a victory to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
There's also revenge. The Bills upset New England in Week 3 as Tom Brady tied a career-worst with four interceptions.
I thought this line would be much higher. Yes, the Bills are off a 40-14 pasting of Denver. Brady isn't Tim Tebow, though. Before this past Saturday, Buffalo had lost seven in a row by a combined margin of 124 points. The Bills are 0-6 on the road, 0-5-1 ATS.
New England does have injuries in its offensive line, but the Bills' offensive line is in worse shape. It's nearly decimated.
The Patriots' defense should start improving as key injured players have started to return. Before defeating the Broncos, the Bills were averaging 14.2 points in their previous seven games. New England is averaging 30.9 points and ranks No. 2 in total offense and passing.
The Patriots had won 15 in a row against Buffalo before Week 3. They are 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings versus the Bills.
Buffalo generates no pass rush. The Bills are sitting ducks for a motivated Brady, who has a 13-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last six games, and their offense isn't nearly strong enough to trade points.
|01-01-12||Carolina Panthers +9 v. New Orleans Saints||17-45||Loss||-115||58 h 46 m||Show|
The Panthers are not an easy out anymore. The Panthers have won and covered four of their last five games. Cam Newton has accounted for 34 touchdowns.
That makes Carolina a very dangerous team, especially if the Saints decide to mail this game in, which very well could be the case.
New Orleans has won the NFC South Division. The Saints are the No. 3 seed. They only could be the No. 2 seed and get a first-round bye if the 49ers lose to the Rams. That's not going to happen. Both New Orleans and San Francisco have early start times on Sunday.
So Saints coach Sean Payton is going to be doing a lot of scoreboard watching. If the 49ers stomp the Rams - and they are double-digit favorites - then Payton won't take chances with Drew Brees and other key starters. He'll yank them since that would render this matchup meaningless from a New Orleans perspective.
Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel has thrown only five career passes.
Even if Payton elects to play his starters the entire game, the Saints will be in for a tough afternoon. Carolina is averaging 33.1 points in its last six games.
The Saints have a great offense, but leaky defense. New Orleans ranks 30th in passing yards and 26th in total defense.
Carolina nearly upset the Saints back in Week 5 losing 30-27 when New Orleans scored a touchdown with 50 seconds left. The Panthers have covered five of the past seven in the series.
Rarely have the Panthers been blown out. Of their nine defeats, six have been by eight points or less.
|01-01-12||San Francisco 49ers -10.5 v. St. Louis Rams||34-27||Loss||-105||58 h 32 m||Show|
The 49ers still need to take care of business with a victory in this matchup to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Jim Harbaugh won't allow San Francisco to let up or not play hard.
The Rams are hopeless. They lost to the 49ers earlier this month, 26-0, behind second-string quarterback A.J. Feeley. San Francisco's top-ranked defense held the Rams to 31 yards rushing and nine first downs.
St. Louis isn't going to be any better this week with third-string quarterback Kellen Clemens. Josh McDaniels has a sharp offensive mind, but his system and stubborn reliance on it has proven disastrous for the Rams, who lack quality receivers aside from Brandon Lloyd and have a makeshift offensive line that is overwhelmed by strong defensive fronts.
St. Louis is averaging a league-low 11.1 points. The Rams are 31st in total offense at 281.7 yards per game. San Francisco is giving up the fewest points at 13.5 per game and also rate No. 1 in rush defense.
The 49ers are not in a good mood either after Marshawn Lynch became the first running back in 37 games to run for 100 yards on them.
San Francisco lacks an explosive offense. But the 49ers can run the ball with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. The Rams are surrendering 154.5 yards per game on the ground, worst in the NFL.
Some may think that laying double-digits on the road in the NFL is a bad thing. But each matchup has to be examined in its own individual terms. In this case, I don't see the Rams staying anywhere close to the 49ers. They don't have the talent, sophistication or motivation.
St. Louis is 0-5-1 ATS in its last six games. The Rams are averaging 6.5 points during the last four weeks.
The 49ers kill the Rams in the trenches. They don't have to do anything fancy or unusual to cover this number.
|01-01-12||NY Jets +3 v. Miami Dolphins||Top||17-19||Win||100||21 h 45 m||Show|
The Jets had no problem handling the Dolphins back in Week 6 winning, 24-6.
This game should follow suit. The Jets have had a very disappointing season, but they still match up well to Miami and have more motivation since they still need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Miami has no motivation with a lame duck head coach and a losing record. Don't expect much crowd support negating home-field advantage. Worse, the Dolphins have two significant injuries on offense. Out is their best pass blocker, Jake Long, and best running back, Reggie Bush.
That leaves Brandon Marshall as Miami's only playmaker and Darrelle Reavis can handle him. The Jets play their best when their backs are to the wall. Their defense is strong enough to handle weak offenses like Miami minus Long and Bush.
The key for the Jets is to not fall behind. They are at their best running the ball and going with a conservative offense. Their defense can easily shut down the punchless Dolphins while the Jets have enough offense to win this game straight-up.
The Jets have been gold in this pointspread range covering nine of the past 11 times they've been a road 'dog of up to three points.
Consequently, Miami is 9-30 ATS as a home favorite.
|12-24-11||Miami Dolphins +10 v. New England Patriots||24-27||Win||100||59 h 3 m||Show|
The Dolphins have become a very tough out covering seven of their last eight games.
Miami historically is outstanding on the road, too, going 21-8-1 ATS. This includes a 3-1 ATS mark in its last four visits to Foxboro.
The Patriots don't have a strong enough defense to lay this many points against a decent team. The Patriots have allowed the most first downs and rank last in total defense and pass defense.
The Patriots have compiled these horrible defensive statistics despite playing inaccurate quarterbacks. The last five quarterbacks the Patriots have faced are Tyler Palko, Vince Young, Dan Orlovsky, Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow.
The Dolphins aren't fancy, but Matt Moore and Reggie Bush are having career years. Bush has rushed for 406 yards in his last three games. Brandon Marshall is a big-time talent who can take advantage of a vulnerable Patriots secondary that has been reduced to using wide receivers.
The Patriots suffered a key defensive injury last week when Andre Carter suffered a season-ending quad injury. He was the Patriots' only big-time pass rusher.
Miami showed it could play in cold weather beating Buffalo on the road last week. That game followed the Dolphins' worst performance in their last eight games, a loss to the Eagles.
The Dolphins proved against the Bills that they will continue to play hard even under interim coach Todd Bowles.
|12-24-11||Cleveland Browns v. Baltimore Ravens -12||Top||14-20||Loss||-110||39 h 56 m||Show|
Kill spot for Baltimore off an embarrassing loss to San Diego and with designs of not only winning the AFC North, but earning home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The Ravens have never lost in seven meetings against the Browns under John Harbaugh, covering six of the seven. Baltimore is 7-0 at home this season. The Ravens are 4-2-1 ATS at home with victories and covers against the Steelers, Jets, Texans and 49ers - all teams far superior to Cleveland.
The Browns have failed to cover seven of the past nine times they've gone against foes with a winning mark. They are 2-6 ATS in their last eight AFC North games and 3-8 ATS as an underdog.
Baltimore is at its best when it runs Ray Rice a lot. That's what the Ravens did when the teams met in Week 13. Baltimore ran for 290 yards with Rice picking up 204 yards on the ground in a methodical 24-10 victory. The Ravens held the Browns to 59 yards rushing on 17 carries.
The Ravens are much more intimidating at home, especially with Ray Lewis back in the lineup. They should steamroll the Browns again. The Browns' run defense is worn down. In their last eight games, the Browns are giving up an average of five yards per carry.
Cleveland has little offense ranking 29th in total yards at 294.8 and 30th in scoring at 13.9 points per game. Career backup Seneca Wallace figures to start at quarterback for Cleveland. I'm not a Colt McCoy fan, but Wallace isn't any better.
|12-22-11||Houston Texans -5.5 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||16-19||Loss||-107||41 h 20 m||Show|
There's a huge class difference between these two teams. The question is can the Texans cover this road spread with a third-string rookie quarterback and how motivated will the Colts be?
We know motivation for Houston isn't going to be a problem after the Texans were embarrassed at home by Carolina this past Sunday. The Texans can still finish 12-4 and earn a first-round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs.
The Texans caught a break with Baltimore and Pittsburgh also losing. Gary Kubiak is confident enough in his team's talent level that he's holding out his best wide receiver, Andre Johnson.
Johnson has a hamstring injury. If this were a playoff game Johnson would likely be playing. But Kubiak knows his team can whip Indianapolis without Johnson.
That should tell you something about this pointspread - it's too small thus giving excellent value to the favorite.
The Colts lack Houston's incentive. They are just playing the string out and are actually in a letdown spot after finally achieving their first victory. That takes the pressure off them.
It's actually better for the long-term future of the franchise if the Colts lose and thus don't jeopardize their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick and getting Andrew Luck.
The oddsmaker has misread this matchup by hanging such a small line. It should be more than a touchdown. The record shows that Indianapolis has covered its last three games. But that's misleading. The Colts trailed the Patriots, 31-10, before getting a backdoor cover with two meaningless touchdowns during the final 2:12.
The Colts scored a meaningless touchdown on the final play against Baltimore to get another backdoor cover in a 24-10 loss as a 16 1/2-point underdog. Then this past Sunday the Colts had a plus two turnover advantage, including returning an interception off Matt Hasselbeck for a touchdown in their win against Tennessee. If you discount an 80-yard touchdown run by Donald Brown on a broken play, the Colts managed just nine first downs and 207 yards of offense against the sliding Titans.
Houston had its seven-game win streak and 6-0-1 ATS mark snapped this past Sunday against Carolina. The Texans outgained the Panthers, but were done in by a minus three turnover ratio.
The Texans rank in the top five in the major defensive categories. They will have no trouble containing a punchless Indy offense that ranks second to last in total yards and averages just 15.1 points per game. Houston is familiar with Dan Orlovsky, who was a backup quarterback for the Texans the previous two seasons. Orlovsky is 1-9 as an NFL starter.
The Colts already have lost at home to far inferior teams than Houston. The Colts lost by eight to Cleveland, by four to Kansas City, by 14 to Jacksonville and by eight to Carolina.
The Texans crushed the Colts, 34-7, opening week. Houston did have Matt Schuab in that victory, but was missing its best player, running back Arian Foster.
The Colts defense was fresh back then. Now it's worn down from injuries and being on the field way too long. Most star running backs have tired legs at this late stage of the season. But Foster is fresher than most having missed most of the first three games because of a hamstring injury.
Foster and Ben Tate, who rushed for 116 yards in the first meeting against the Colts, are the keys. The Texans will ride these two excellent backs, which will take the pressure of T.J. Yates and allow him to successfully play-action and pick his spots.
Houston ranks second in rushing averaging more than 151 yards per game and is first in average time of possession. The Texans will methodically wear down an already worn down and unmotivated Colts team.
|12-19-11||Pittsburgh Steelers v. San Francisco 49ers -3||3-20||Win||100||17 h 34 m||Show|
I'm not sold on the 49ers being an elite team like the Steelers.
But the timing and situation are right for the 49ers to cover this small number.
Baltimore losing to San Diego last night takes the pressure off Pittsburgh. While Green Bay falling to Kansas City gives San Francisco a glimmer of hope that it can finish with the best record in the NFC.
The 49ers are home with more to prove than the Steelers. San Francisco also is the healthier team even though I'd be surprised if star inside linebacker Patrick Willis is able to play.
But while the 49ers are likely to be without their best tackler, the Steelers are missing far more key players. Out for Pittsburgh is star center Maurkice Pouncey, suspended Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison and Emmanuel Sanders, their third-best wide receiver.
In addition to these players being out, sack-leader LaMarr Woodley is hobbled as is Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to start. Pouncey's absence means a disjointed offensive line. That's not good for Roethlisberger, who might be lifted at any time. Roethlisberger's backup is washed-up Charlie Batch.
The 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in their last 35 games. The Steelers are going to need to pass to beat them, which is made far more difficult by Roethlisberger being less than 100 percent and Pouncey being out.
San Francisco also holds a special teams edge with dangerous Ted Ginn returning kicks and punts and kicker David Akers having a magnificent season.
|12-18-11||New England Patriots -7 v. Denver Broncos||41-23||Win||100||62 h 13 m||Show|
The marketplace has been all over the Patriots so far. I agree with the steam.
Denver's defense is much improved, but it has faced only one good quarterback during the past six weeks and that was Philip Rivers, who is having a down year.
The only two other outstanding quarterbacks the Broncos have faced were Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers and Detroit put up 45 points and Green Bay scored 49 points on Denver.
Only once during their last five games have the Broncos even broken the 17-point barrier. Denver is beaten-up in the secondary. Tom Brady should have a field day against the Broncos' depleted secondary.
I don't see Tim Tebow being able to trade points with Brady. The Patriots are last in pass defense, but Tebow lacks the accuracy and downfield touch to burn New England.
If there's a defensive guru who can effectively defend Tebow for all four quarters it's Bill Belichick.
The Patriots lost the last time they visited Denver two years ago. Belichick will have his team fired-up for this matchup, which has become a marquee game. The Patriots have covered in eight of their last 11 road games.
The Broncos can't hold New England to less than three touchdowns, which has been the key for them in building a six-game winning streak. The explosive Patriots are No. 2 in total yards at 424.7 and No. 3 in scoring at 30.5 points per game.
New England is hitting its stride offensively averaging 34.8 points in its last five games. Denver's defense isn't nearly good enough to keep Brady in check. Tebow's a great story, but he doesn't have nearly the passing skills to take advantage of New England's patchwork secondary, or overcome Belichick's defensive acumen.
|12-18-11||Washington Redskins +7 v. NY Giants||23-10||Win||100||59 h 57 m||Show|
The Giants aren't strong enough defensively to be laying this big of a number to a division foe.
New York has given up an average of 40.3 points during its last three games. The Giants rank 30th in total defense and 29th in passing defense. Both their secondary and defensive line has key players injured.
Rex Grossman threw for 305 yards and had two touchdowns with no interceptions when the Redskins beat the Giants, 28-14, opening week.
Roy Helu has stepped up to rush for 100 yards in each of the last three weeks. Helu's excellent running takes the pressure off Grossman, who still has a dangerous deep threat in Santana Moss.
The Redskins have covered five of their last six NFC East games. The Giants are 4-10-1 ATS as a home favorite of between 3 1/2 and 10 points. New York also is 1-11 ATS when hosting an opponent with a losing road mark.
The Giants often play up or down to the level of competition. In the last two weeks, the Giants nearly dealt the Packers their first loss and then pulled out a dramatic victory this past Sunday night on the road against Dallas. Up next for the Giants is an in-state grudge match against the Jets.
The Redskins are loose with nothing to lose. They host Minnesota next week. So Washington's full focus should be on this matchup against a long-time hated rival.
|12-18-11||Carolina Panthers +6.5 v. Houston Texans||Top||28-13||Win||100||59 h 56 m||Show|
Sure the Texans are still alive for best record in the AFC, but their intensity level has to be down after clinching their first division title and playoff berth in dramatic style last week. They edged the Bengals on the final play from scrimmage.
It's going to be difficult for the Texans to cover a touchdown spread with a third-string rookie quarterback without a strong effort against a feisty underdog.
Cam Newton makes Carolina dangerous. The Panthers have had the lead in every one of their games except one. They are a respectable 3-4 in their last seven games.
Newton is a monster accounting for 28 touchdowns. He's averaging 5.2 yards per rush, same as DeAngelo Williams. A rejuvenated Steve Smith is second in the league in receiving yards. He's the best wideout on the field with Andre Johnson unlikely to play after straining his hamstring.
The Panthers catch a break, too, in that Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips won't be coaching following a surgical procedure. He's this year's defensive coordinator of the year. Phillips called the defensive plays for the greatly-improved Houston defense.
The Panthers have covered 15 of their last 21 games in December.
|12-18-11||New Orleans Saints -6.5 v. Minnesota Vikings||42-20||Win||100||59 h 55 m||Show|
The Saints were flat last week, but managed to escape with a road win against Tennessee. New Orleans has now won and covered five in a row.
The Saints have struggled on the road, but they are in a natural dome setting on carpet facing a decimated secondary. New Orleans is averaging 35.7 points in eight dome games this year.
Drew Brees has a 19-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last seven games accounting for 20 touchdowns during this span. Brees has passed for 300 yards in 10 of 13 games and should have no problem putting up huge numbers against a Minnesota secondary minus its two top cornerbacks - Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook - and top cover safety Husan Abdullah.
The Vikings aren't going to be able to keep up even with Adrian Peterson back in the lineup. Peterson says he's about 85 percent after missing the last three games with an ankle injury.
Rookie Christian Ponder is struggling and has limited mobility with a hip injury. The Saints are going to be aggressively blitzing the now immobile Ponder.
The Vikings could turn to Joe Webb, who is very mobile but not an accurate passer.
The Vikings have played hard the last two weeks losing at home to Denver by three points when they blew a late lead and nearly upsetting the Lions on the road this past Sunday after trailing 31-14 midway through the third quarter.
I don't see the Vikings having enough in the tank physically and mentally to stay with a red-hot Brees, who will find the pickings easy against such a beat-up secondary and playing on a fast indoor track.
|12-18-11||Miami Dolphins v. Buffalo Bills -1||30-23||Loss||-110||18 h 15 m||Show|
Buffalo did it again. Failed to make the playoffs for the 12th straight season.
But the Bills won't lack for motivation in this matchup. There's enough of a situational edge and injury factor to back Buffalo.
Miami had been playing well, but fell 26-10 at home to Philadelphia last Sunday. Now the Dolphins, in the midst of their lost season, have to travel to upstate New York to face a revenge-seeking division opponent with a new head coach.
This will be Miami's first cold weather game. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s with a chance of snow and 8-10 mph winds.
The Dolphins stuck it to the Bills, 35-8, in Week 11. Buffalo hasn't won since. Todd Bowles will be coaching his first NFL game having replaced Tony Sparano. Bowles is unknown, but this is a difficult spot to step into since the Dolphins obviously want a bigger name to be their head coach. So the players may consciously, or unconsciously, let up with Bowles as the coach especially in weather elements foreign to them.
Sparano wasn't a sharp coach, but the Dolphins could usually be counted on to give a full effort under him. Buffalo's Chan Gailey has one of the better offensive minds of the head coaches.
Gailey has kept the Bills playing hard despite losing close to a dozen key players to injuries. This week, though, it's the Dolphins who have two important injuries.
Quarterback Matt Moore probably will start despite suffering a neck injury last week. He has limited talent and the injury could affect his play. There's a chance Miami could use J.P. Losman later on even if Moore starts. Losman was a bust with the Bills. Buffalo knows Losman and can take full advantage of his many holes. If Losman does get into the game, the Dolphins are in big trouble.
The Bills are last in sacks, but the Dolphins are unlikely to have star left tackle Jake Long due to a back injury. The Dolphins have allowed 44 sacks, which is the second-highest amount in the league behind only St. Louis.
Even the Bills will be able to get to Miami's weakened offensive line. Miami has been playing better defense, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is due for a good performance and he's home. He also gets back veteran left tackle Demetrius Bell, who had missed the last eight weeks with a shoulder injury, to protect his blind side.
|12-17-11||Dallas Cowboys -6.5 v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Top||31-15||Win||100||91 h 29 m||Show|
Banged-up, demoralized and leaderless, Tampa Bay is a dead team.
The Cowboys are off a tough home loss and need a big victory in their quest to capture the NFC East Division.
The talent gap between these two teams - especially considering the Buccaneers' banged-up defense - is much wider than a touchdown. The combination of a huge talent edge and motivation is more than enough for the Cowboys to romp.
The Buccaneers are surrendering an average of 32.5 points in their last nine games. Their run defense has absolutely fallen apart since star tackle Gerald McCoy was lost for the season with a bicep injury. In the seven games McCoy has missed the Buccaneers have allowed 956 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
The Cowboys certainly have the firepower to exploit such defensive shortcomings ranking in the top 10 in points, total yards and passing. Felix Jones is more than a capable replacement for DeMarco Murray, who was behind Jones in the depth chart until Jones was hurt earlier in the season.
It's not just the Buccaneers' defense either that has fallen off. Josh Freeman has had a dramatic regression. He's turned the ball over 13 times in the last five games.
Dallas is in a foul mood after losing at the end to the Giants this past Sunday night. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has taken justifiable heat for his conservative coaching. He and his Cowboys will be taking their frustrations out on the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay has lost seven in a row and eight of its last 10. The Bucs last won a game in mid-October. They've only covered one of their last seven games and that was a nine-point loss to Green Bay on the road. The Buccaneers have been horrible at Raymond James Stadium going 4-13-1 ATS, including 2-4 ATS this season.
The Buccaneers are a young team with a young coach and they have bad chemistry. Raheem Morris doesn't have the experience nor the acumen to turn the Bucs' lost season around. The Buccaneers are the perfect team to fade right now when backing a superior team with an explosive offense that has far more motivation.
|12-15-11||Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons -11||Top||14-41||Win||100||45 h 2 m||Show|
Atlanta is 24-4 straight-up at home with Matt Ryan under center. There's little doubt the Falcons are going to win this game, the key obviously is can they cover a double-digit pointspread?
The answer is yes.
Jacksonville averages 14.8 points per game. The Jaguars rank last in total offense and passing offense. Their only good offensive player is running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Atlanta's defensive strength is its run defense.
Blaine Gabbert doesn't have the pocket presence or accuracy to hurt the Falcons, even though they will be keying on Jones-Drew and have injuries in their secondary.
Statistically, the Jaguars appear impressive on defense ranking fourth in fewest yards allowed and seventh in fewest points given up. But that defense has been hit hard by injuries during the past few weeks losing their best cover defensive backs and run-stuffing linemen. The Jaguars lack the depth to make up for these injuries.
Jacksonville is ripe to be plucked. This hasn't happened in four of the Jaguars' last five games because the quarterbacks they faced in those four games were third-string rookie T.J. Yates, who was making his first appearance, Curtis Painter and the Colts, Colt McCoy and the Browns and banged-up Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers.
Philip Rivers was the only big-time quarterback the Jaguars faced during this span and he lit them up for 38 points at Jacksonville.
Ryan plays much better inside a dome at home. He has explosive weapons, including a now healthy Julio Jones. The Falcons came out flat last week and then stormed back to beat Carolina on the road. They won't make that mistake of starting slow here. Atlanta is 16-5-1 ATS versus losing teams.
Since Week 1, Jacksonville is 3-9 straight-up and 4-7-1 ATS. The Jaguars got their much needed win last week against Tampa Bay, scoring more than 20 points for the first time this year.
This is a kill spot for the Falcons and they will apply the hammer.
|12-12-11||St Louis Rams v. Seattle Seahawks -8.5||Top||13-30||Win||100||8 h 54 m||Show|
I can't see the Rams being competitive in this game. They have no business being on the national stage. A blowout loss might even be good for the Rams because then their ownership might be embarrassed enough to do more for the sinking franchise.
The Rams are decimated both on the offensive line and secondary. St. Louis has lost a staggering 10 defensive backs and allowed 39 sacks.
The Rams would be foolish to risk Sam Bradford, who isn't 100 percent with an ankle injury.
Backup A.J. Feeley is out so the Rams probably are going to be reduced to using a street free agent at quarterback. Not good.
They can't rely on Steven Jackson either. He's never rushed for 100 yards in 14 meetings against Seattle and has looked sluggish as the long year wears him down. The Seahawks' strength is their run defense and huge home-field advantage.
The Seahawks are playing well. They are on a 7-2-1 ATS streak. Marshawn Lynch is running as well as any back.
The Seahawks are well-rested. This is their third consecutive home game. They've had extra preparation time, too, from having played last Thursday when they beat the Eagles in impressive fashion.
Pete Carroll isn't adverse to running up a score. He would do it here, too, on national television.
Seattle has owned the Rams winning 12 of the past 13 meetings, going 10-3 ATS.
|12-11-11||NY Giants +3.5 v. Dallas Cowboys||37-34||Win||103||51 h 60 m||Show|
Yes, the Giants have lost four in a row. But look at who they have played: 49ers, Eagles, Saints and Packers.
The Giants beat the Patriots in New England five weeks ago and should have defeated Green Bay this past Sunday.
Dallas has played an easier schedule having faced the Redskins, Bills, Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals.
The Giants have the offense to pile up points on Dallas and the pass rushers to bother Tony Romo. Eli Manning is having his finest season. The Giants are dangerous when healthy and they got two key players back last week in running back Ahmad Bradshaw and linebacker Michael Boley.
This is the Giants' season. They can't afford a loss here. New York The Giants have defeated Dallas the past two seasons on the road. They are 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven games versus the Cowboys.
Dallas is 2-6-1 ATS as a favorite this season. Going back to the past 16 times they've been chalk, the Cowboys are a miserable 3-12-1 ATS. They also are 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games played in December.
The Giants are 23-9 when taking points.
|12-11-11||Oakland Raiders v. Green Bay Packers -11.5||16-46||Win||100||18 h 1 m||Show|
The Raiders lack the offense, consistency and discipline to keep this matchup close at Lambeau Field.
Travel could be getting to Oakland as this is its second long trip in two weeks and fourth road game in five weeks.
Playing in Green Bay in December is never fun either especially for a California team.
The Raiders have a sloppy passing attack and their most explosive skill position players are all out again.
On defense, the Raiders still blown way too many coverages, which is deadly against the league's most explosive team.
Green Bay is averaging 39 points at home. The Raiders can't keep close to that.
|12-11-11||New Orleans Saints v. Tennessee Titans +4||22-17||Loss||-105||60 h 37 m||Show|
This is a dangerous flat spot for the Saints. Following their bye, the Saints destroyed the Giants at home on a Monday night and then took care of the Lions also at home this past Sunday night.
But now the Saints have to travel for the first time in four weeks and play on grass for the first time since mid-October when they lost at Tampa Bay.
New Orleans ranks 27th in total defense and its offense isn't nearly as explosive away from their home dome, especially on a grass field. Drew Brees' completion percentage drops from 68 to 63 on the road and his passing yardage falls from 341 to 290.
In the Louisiana Superdome, the Saints have averaged 39.8 points in six home contests. In their last five road games, however, the Saints are averaging 23.4 points during regulation. New Orleans has failed to cover in eight of its last 11 road contests.
The Titans are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 meetings against NFC competition. The Titans already have covered against the three other NFC South Division teams this year, beating Carolina and Tampa Bay straight-up by a combined 33 points.
Tennessee's defense doesn't get much fanfare, but the Titans are allowing just 19.1 points per game, which is sixth-best in the NFL. The Titans are respectable versus the pass and can play ball control with a ground attack that is picking up steam.
Chris Johnson was the best running back in football two years ago. After a very slow start, caused in large part by a protracted holdout, he has come on strong rushing for 343 yards the past two weeks.
If the Titans pull the upset, they have a real shot at making the playoffs. It's something they are well aware of. The spot and opponent match up well for the underdog to get the money if not win the game outright.
|12-11-11||Atlanta Falcons -3 v. Carolina Panthers||Top||31-23||Win||106||60 h 35 m||Show|
The Falcons beat the Panthers, 31-17, in Week 6 and I see nothing changing in this matchup.
Carolina is more beat-up on defense. Besides having lost their best linebackers, the Panthers also are down run-stuffing defensive tackles Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, both of whom went down last week.
This makes the Panthers highly vulnerable to the rumbling of Michael Turner, who has ran for at least 100 yards in five of his last six games against the Panthers. He gashed the Panthers for 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the team's first meeting this season.
Matt Ryan should perform better with the emphasis on Turner, especially with rookie Julio Jones healthy and teaming up with Roddy White.
The Falcons intercepted Cam Newton three times in the first meeting and held him without a touchdown throw. The Faclons rank No. 3 in the NFL in run defense. They've allowed only one 100-yard rusher in the last 15 games.
This is an off-surface for the Falcons, but they've covered 11 of their last 16 road games.
|12-11-11||Houston Texans v. Cincinnati Bengals -1.5||20-19||Loss||-130||44 h 48 m||Show|
In a battle of two strong defensive teams, I'll back the Bengals, who have the better quarterback and are at home. The pointspread at a field goal or less, is enough to back them.
I like T.J. Yates. But he's the Texans' third-string quarterback and won't have his security blanket and top receiver Andre Johnson. I much prefer the Bengals' good-looking rookie Andy Dalton and his stellar group of young wideouts headed by A.J. Green.
The Texans have won six in a row to build up a two-game lead in the AFC South. The Bengals, on the other hand, can't afford a loss as they try to earn a wild-card spot.
Cincinnati has played twice against Pittsburgh and once against Baltimore in its last four games. Houston is much improved defensively, but its defense isn't as physical as those two opponents.
The Texans are vulnerable in the secondary. They haven't faced a quarterback as good as Dalton during their last three road games having played the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Titans. I like the matchup of Green and Jerome Simpson against Houston cornerbacks Jason Allen and Kareem Jackson.
|12-08-11||Cleveland Browns v. Pittsburgh Steelers -14||3-14||Loss||-104||18 h 33 m||Show|
Laying two touchdowns in the NFL is a dangerous thing to do no matter how enticing the favorite might look.
But special Thursday night circumstances and matchup analysis points to an easy Pittsburgh victory so I'll be laying the big freight.
The Browns are going into Pittsburgh on a short week having been physically whipped by Baltimore this past Sunday losing 24-10 at home surrendering a staggering 290 yards on the ground. The week before that the Browns played their hearts out nearly upsetting another division rival, Cincinnati.
Overworked, overburdened and largely devoid of talent, the Browns' defense is breaking down allowing an average of 5.3 yards per rush and seven touchdowns on the ground in their last six games. Losing veteran linebacker Scott Fujita certainly didn't help Cleveland's worn down defense.
And defense is the Browns' strength.
The Browns have no playmakers on offense. They are averaging 14.6 points per game and rank 30th in total yards and rushing. In their last seven games, the Browns are averaging only 12 points a game. Peyton Hillis isn't nearly the runner he was last year. Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya are below average backups.
Colt McCoy is nothing but a dink-and-dunker with below average wider receivers. McCoy has passed for more than 220 yards just twice this season in this the year of the quarterback.
Pittsburgh ranks first in total defense and No. 2 against the pass. Star linebacker James Harrison is coming on after beginning the year slow recovering from off-season surgery. The Steelers' run defense has shown marked improvement since nose guard Casey Hampton returned from a shoulder injury. Pittsburgh has given up just one rushing score and held opposing runners to an average of 3.1 yards per carry during its last five games.
I can't see the Browns putting many points at all in this matchup and they don't have a Cam Newton type of quarterback to hang around and get a backdoor cover.
The Steelers are well balanced on offense with Ben Roethlisberger and a relatively fresh Rashard Mendenhall. The Browns rank No. 1 in pass defense. That statistic is highly misleading, though, considering the Browns have been thrown on the second fewest times. The Browns don't rush the quarterback well and aside from cornerback Joe Haden, they don't have a strong secondary.
The Steelers are off their most dominant performance of the season beating the Bengals, 35-7, last week. That was Pittsburgh's seventh win in its last eight games. The Browns are 2-7 in their last nine games. Their victories have been against Seattle when backup Charlie Whitehurst was the quarterback and Marshawn Lynch was out and against Jacksonville, which is 3-9 and ranks last in total offense and second-to-last in points scored.
I don't see a letdown factor either from Pittsburgh in this nationally televised home matchup. The Steelers have beaten the Browns in 14 of the last 15 meetings, but the lone defeat during this span occurred just two years ago and that loss help keep them out of the playoffs. The Steelers are desperately trying to stay ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North Division knowing the Ravens own two victories against them this season. The two teams are tied for the division lead.
Cleveland is 1-4 on the road with its only victory coming against the winless Colts. The Browns have failed to cover eight of the last nine times they've been underdogs.
|12-05-11||San Diego Chargers -3 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||38-14||Win||100||69 h 10 m||Show|
As bad as the Chargers have been - and they've been brutal - they have a chance to get back into the AFC West race even though they trail Oakland by three games.
The Chargers should win this game and beat Buffalo at home next week. The Raiders are underdogs at Miami and then have to play on the road against the Packers next week. So the Chargers could pick up two games right there on the Raiders, who they meet in the final week.
Jacksonville can't score enough points to beat any team and its defense no longer can keep them in games due to recent multiple injuries.
The Jaguars continue to force feed Blaine Gabbert, who simply is not a starting-caliber NFL quarterback at this early stage of his career. He lacks pocket presence and accuracy. Jacksonville is last in passing yards, total offense and in scoring averaging 12.5 points a game.
Malcom Floyd is slated to return from injury giving Philip Rivers another quality receiving target to go with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates. Ryan Mathews is coming off a 142-yard rushing game.
During the past few weeks, the Jaguars have lost key defensive personnel, including nose tackle Terrance Knighton, defensive end Matt Roth, linebacker Clint Session and cornerback Rashean Mathis, their top cover man.
This also is the Jaguars' first game in nine years without coach Jack Del Rio. The Jaguars proved dangerous on Monday night in Week 7 at home upsetting Baltimore.
Rivers, though, is a far better quarterback than Joe Flacco and the Jaguars weren't nearly as decimated on defense as they are now.
|12-04-11||St. Louis Rams v. San Francisco 49ers -13.5||0-26||Win||100||69 h 51 m||Show|
This seems like a lot of points to lay in a division game with a weak offense, but it's really not considering the matchup.
The Rams can't score, don't stop the run and now may not have Sam Bradford, who didn't practice on Thursday because of a flare-up of an ankle injury.
Bradford, Steven Jackson and Brandon Lloyd are the Rams' only decent offensive players. Bradford doesn't have much time to throw because of the Rams' five-step dropback style and having a leaky, battered offensive line. Jackson doesn't figure to have success against a top-ranked 49ers run defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher nor allowed a rushing touchdown.
San Francisco has given up the fewest points in the NFL at 14.6 per game. St. Louis is averaging 12.7 points per game, lowest of any team except Jacksonville.
The Rams have covered only two of their past 12 games. They are a dome team playing on a grass field lacking motivation and confidence. The 49ers have had extra time to prepare and stew about losing the Harbaugh Bowl on Thanksgiving. They'll be happy to take their frustrations out on the punchless Rams.
Alex Smith is a limited passer, but even Smith will have success facing a Rams defense that is down a staggering 10 defensive backs. Frank Gore is in line for a big game, which will loosen up the Rams' decimated secondary even more for Smith, who has decent receiving targets in Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.
|12-04-11||Kansas City Chiefs v. Chicago Bears -7||10-3||Loss||-104||38 h 38 m||Show|
It's become obvious why Tyler Palko has been waived by not only four different NFL teams, but also released by a CFL and USFL team, too: The guy can not play.
Palko has turned the ball over seven times in his two starts the past two weeks. The Chiefs are trying to get Kyle Orton up to speed to replace Palko, but that may not happen this week. Even if Orton does play, it's not like he's some great quarterback savior either. The Bears also are well acquainted with Orton since he played four years for them.
Chicago is playing top-notch defense. The Bears are holding opposing running backs to 3.2 yards per carry on 60 attempts during the last three weeks. The Chiefs have one of the worst rushing attacks since losing Jamaal Charles for the season. The three-headed monster of Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle is a monster only to the Chiefs.
The Bears' pass defense has been even more effective than their run defense. Chicago has come up with 12 interceptions while allowing just five touchdown passes during the last six games, holding quarterbacks to 58.4 percent and 6.3 yards per attempt. Cornerback Charles Tillman is having a Pro Bowl type season. Palko has yet to throw a touchdown in his two starts.
Kansas City has scored the grand total of 25 points in its last four games, failing to break the 10-point barrier in any game during this span.
The Bears' offense should be better with Caleb Hanie making his second start and first at home. Matt Forte is having his finest season and Marion Barber has been surprising effective lately.
The Chiefs came out with a great effort at home playing on Sunday night last week, but they aren't nearly talented enough to hang close unless producing another "A" game. Even if they were to do that a second consecutive week - which is highly doubtful - their horrendous quarterback play would do them in.
|11-27-11||Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 v. Kansas City Chiefs||13-9||Loss||-100||44 h 4 m||Show|
There's a very good chance that Kyle Orton will be Kansas City's starting quarterback in Week 13.
That means another opportunity to fade Tyler Palko and the Chiefs. Palko is one of the worst quarterbacks I've ever seen start in the NFL. He couldn't produce against New England's weak pass defense this past Monday and now on a short week he's going to be terrible again against a much stronger defense.
Making matters worse for Palko is the Chiefs are without their best pass blocker, left guard Ryan Lilja, who is out with a concussion. The Chiefs lack a ground game with Jamaal Charles out to take the pressure off Palko.
The Steelers are rested and ready having been idle last week. Ben Roethlisberger has a thumb injury, but he had a similar injury in 2005 when the Steelers won the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-most passing touchdowns and have the fewest sacks in the league. They are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games versus AFC teams.
Pittsburgh has done the job as a favorite covering eight of the last 11 times in that role.
|11-27-11||Chicago Bears +4 v. Oakland Raiders||20-25||Loss||-108||40 h 41 m||Show|
Jay Cutler may have been playing his finest ball when he suffered a thumb injury. Caleb Hanie, his replacement, lacks Cutler's big arm.
But the Bears will be fine in this matchup with Hanie behind center. Matt Forte is having a great season and Oakland still hasn't solved their perennial run defense woes. Hanie, if you may recall, nearly led the Bears to an upset victory over Green Bay in the NFC title game after he replaced an ineffective and injured Cutler.
The Raiders may yet to prove to be the class of the AFC West - but this remains a very weak division. The Raiders aren't as discplined as the Bears and their veterans aren't as savvy as Chicago's key veterans such as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.
Carson Palmer is still learning Oakland's offense. The Raiders still won't have their best running back either, Darren McFadden. The Bears are a very opportunistic defense. They've picked off 11 passes in their last four games. Charles Tillman is playing as well as any cornerback.
Chicago is in a nice groove. You would have to go back to Week 5 to find the last time the Bears lost. They have held six straight foes to 24 points or less. In their last five games, the Bears have scored 37, 30, 24, 39 and 31 points.
The Raiders have good special teams, but Devin Hester trumps them. Sebastian Janikowski also still isn't 100 percent so probably no long field goals for the Raiders.
The Raiders lack the pedigree in this role having failed to cover 14 of the last 17 times they've been home favorites. They are not a team that can be relied on.
|11-27-11||Washington Redskins +3.5 v. Seattle Seahawks||23-17||Win||100||40 h 40 m||Show|
Offensive left tackle Trent Williams, wide receiver Santana Moss and safety LaRon Landry are three of the best players on the Redskins.
They are all finally healthy and expected to play in this matchup. Washington is as healthy as it has been since early in the season. That makes the Redskins dangerous in this matchup.
Rex Grossman isn't going to make anyone forget Aaron Rodgers. But Grossman is a better quarterback than John Beck. The Redskins have the better defense, leading the NFL in sacks and giving up just 11 touchdown passes.
Tarvaris Jackson has thrown one touchdown pass and been picked off six times since returning from a strained right pectoral four games ago. His passing yards have dropped during each of the last four weeks.
The Seahawks have a makeshift offensive line having lost the right side of their line a couple of weeks ago and are without their two top cornerbacks.
Seattle is off a road victory against NFC West Division rival St. Louis, 24-7. The Seahawks, though, do not have a good history following a victory going 7-18-1 ATS. They are 3-23-2 ATS following a win of 14 points or more.
|11-27-11||Cleveland Browns +7.5 v. Cincinnati Bengals||20-23||Win||100||37 h 42 m||Show|
The Bengals have produced two great efforts in a row in close losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore the past two weeks. They are at Pittsburgh next week.
Even though this is a division game and in-state rivalry, it's going to prove too difficult for the young Bengals to give another great effort in this matchup. They are much better as underdogs than favorites having failed to cover 13 of the last 16 times they've been home chalk.
The Browns are limited offensively, but they do have several very good offensive linemen and are deep at tight end. Josh Cribbs remains a special teams weapon.
The Bengals are without their best cover cornerback, injured Leon Hall.
The Browns will play hard here. Their defense is respectable.
Cincinnati isn't a strong enough team to cover this kind of spread without playing its "A" or "B" game. The spot dictates that won't be the case.
The Bengals are going to struggle in a flat spot and with a huge look-ahead game. The Browns will take this one down to the wire. They are 7-2 ATS as a road 'dog of between 3 1/2 and 10 points.
|11-27-11||Houston Texans -3.5 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||20-13||Win||100||96 h 16 m||Show|
A great running attack and the league's No. 1 defense is more than enough for the Texans to cover this small number against a now dead Jaguars squad.
The Jaguars fell to 3-7 after failing to score from the one-yard line on the final play last Sunday against Cleveland. The Jaguars threw the ball instead of running Maurice Jones-Drew like they should have.
The Jaguars are down mentally and physically with numerous key defensive injuries, including injuries to their nose guard, linebacker and best cornerback. The Jaguars don't have nearly the talent or quarterbacking to overcome this.
Yes, Matt Leinart is Houston's new quarterback replacing injured Matt Schaub. But I would still take the veteran Leinart over rookie Blaine Gabbert, who is completing less than 49 percent of his passes and clearly has shown he's not close to being an NFL-caliber starting quarterback yet.
A big key for the Texans is getting premier wide receiver Andre Johnson back. He's missed the last six games with a hamstring injury. The rested Texans wanted to wait until after their bye, which was last week, to have Johnson back at full strength.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate have combined to run for 520 yards and score five touchdowns in Houston's last three games. The Texans, ranked No. 2 in rushing, will be even stronger on the ground with defenses having to account for Johnson.
The Jaguars gave up 115 yards rushing to plodding third-stringer Chris Ogbonnaya last week. It's scary to think what Foster can do against the Jaguars, whose run defense is vulnerable following recent injuries.
The Texans held Jacksonville to just 160 yards of offense when they beat them 24-14 in Week 8. The Texans may have shut out the Jaguars in that game if not for two turnovers in their own territory. That shouldn't happen again and the score should be even more lopsided in Houston's favor this time around.
|11-27-11||Buffalo Bills v. NY Jets -9||24-28||Loss||-110||37 h 38 m||Show|
The line keeps climbing in this matchup, but it's totally justified.
The Bills are playing terrible having dropped four of their last five while giving up an average of 35.3 points in their last three games.
Buffalo has marginal talent and limited depth. Now the Bills have been hit hard by injuries. In the last couple of weeks, they've lost their best offensive lineman (center Eric Wood), their best running back and most productive offensive player (Fred Jackson), wide receiver Donald Jones and cornerback Terrence McGee.
Ryan Fitzpatrick needs a strong supporting cast to cover up his weak arm and limited skills. The Bills don't have that and opposing defenses have figured out Buffalo's short passing game. Fitzpatrick is averaging two turnovers per game in his last six games. The Bills have scored the grand total of 26 points during their last three games - and that was with Jackson, who was their best running back by far.
The Jets rank eight in total defense and fifth in pass defense thanks in large part to Darrelle Revis, who remains the premier cornerback. He'll take on Steve Johnson, who is playing hurt and Buffalo's only consistent wide receiving threat.
The Jets have had four extra days to stew about their loss to Denver and Tim Tebow. Mark Sanchez didn't play well in that game. He has a history, though, of following a bad performance with a good one.
The Bills don't put pressure on the quarterback ranking 29th in sacks. They rate 26th in total defense and have given up the third-most rushing touchdowns. Shonn Greene is back healthy and has averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his last three games against Buffalo. Sanchez, given good run support, should be able to put up good passing numbers against the Bills and their beat-up secondary.
New York defeated Buffalo, 27-11, just three weeks ago when the Bills still had their confidence and swagger. That's all gone now. The Jets were 16 points better than and now they're home and facing a far more banged-up Bills squad.
Look for the Jets to easily defeat the Bills for the seventh time in the last eight meetings.
|11-24-11||San Francisco 49ers v. Baltimore Ravens -3||Top||6-16||Win||100||53 h 11 m||Show|
The combination of playing a weak schedule and traveling from West to East for a Thursday game will be too much for the 49ers to overcome against Baltimore.
The Ravens have lost just five times in 29 home games under John Harbaugh covering 63 percent of their home contests.
San Francisco has an outstanding defense, but so does Baltimore and the Ravens have played the more difficult schedule. The Ravens rank in the top five in fewest points allowed, total defense and run defense.
Frank Gore is going to have problems and when that happens San Francisco is in trouble. The 49ers lack a vertical attack with Alex Smith, who is merely a glorified game manager.
Despite their glittering 9-1 record, the 49ers actually have been outgained on the season. They are just plus four in first downs.
The Ravens have the more balanced attack. The 49ers are difficult to run on, but they can be passed on. Joe Flacco has a history of playing much better at home. Anquan Boldin is a dependable receiver and Torrey Smith gives the Ravens a much needed deep threat.
The 49ers have faced only two winning teams during their past seven games. The situation is terrible for them having to go cross country on a short week costing them two days of practice. This marks the 49ers' fifth road trip where at least a two-hour time change is involved. That takes a toll, especially without adequate preparation time for an interconference foe they last played in 2007.
|11-24-11||Miami Dolphins v. Dallas Cowboys -7||19-20||Loss||-100||62 h 50 m||Show|
The Dolphins are far from the worst team in the league. Miami has proven that with three consecutive victories.
But I see the Dolphins lacking motivation having to travel to Dallas on a short week to play on Thanksgiving. Playing on turkey day doesn't bother the Cowboys. They've covered in their last seven Thanksgiving games, winning five of those matchups by 10 or more points.
The Dolphins can't match Dallas' explosiveness. Matt Moore can't compare to Tony Romo, who is 18-2 in November. Romo can run hot and cold and right now he's burning. In his last three games, Romo is 65-for-90 for 741 yards with eight touchdown throws and no interceptions.
Romo now has a healthy Felix Jones to join DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten giving the Cowboys far more firepower than the Dolphins.
Miami's victories have been against Kansas City, Washington and Buffalo. Not one of those teams is above .500. The Dolphins managed just 242 yards of offense last week against a bad Buffalo defense.
The Cowboys' defense is getting better as the players adjust to highly-respected defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Sean Lee, a very underrated linebacker, is back in the lineup and the Cowboys also could get back cornerback Mike Jenkins back.
The Dolphins were on pace to give up the most sacks in franchise history before taking on the pass rush-challenged Bills. They'll have problems keeping DeMarcus Ware away from Moore.
|11-24-11||Green Bay Packers -6 v. Detroit Lions||27-15||Win||100||35 h 27 m||Show|
Detroit is much improved. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The Lions still aren't close to being in the Packers' class. Green Bay has much more overall talent, balance and depth. The Lions have an outstanding defensive front, but their linebackers and defensive backs aren't anything special and their offensive line isn't very good.
The Lions also don't have a running back threat with Jahvid Best out with a concussion. Kevin Smith isn't going to run on the Packers' 12th-ranked run defense like he did last week against Carolina's weak run defense.
The Panthers put up 35 points on the Lions last week. How many can the Packers score? Green Bay is averaging an NFL-best 35.5 points per game. This is a dome setting where the Packers are at their most explosive. Green Bay is averaging 34.2 points in its last four dome games.
Matthew Stafford is a rising star. But Aaron Rodgers trumps him and takes better care of the ball. Stafford can move the ball on any defense. The Packers yield big yardage, but they rank 15th in points allowed at 21.2. They are a true bend-but-don't-break defense with a knack for coming up with takeaways. Green Bay leads the league in interceptions, picking off at least one pass during the last nine games.
The Packers were flat last week in dispatching Tampa Bay. They will perceive a strong challenge here and be highly motivated especially after the Lions knocked out Rodgers in last season's home victory against the Packers.
Despite inflated pointspreads, the undefeated Packers have covered 70 percent of their games this season. They are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games. Green Bay also is 19-6-1 ATS when facing a foe with a winning home mark.
The Lions are not used to pressure situations like this. They have continually laid an egg on Thanksgiving going 0-7 straight-up and ATS the past seven years on turkey day losing by an average of 22.9 points.
|11-21-11||Kansas City Chiefs v. New England Patriots -16||3-34||Win||100||17 h 25 m||Show|
Going into Monday all the money has been on New England. The marketplace has the right side.
The Patriots should destroy Kansas City. Not only do the Patriots match up well to Kansas City, but the Chiefs are at a severe disadvantage.
If you didn't like Matt Cassel wait unti you see Tyler Palko. Then you'll realize why Cassel didn't lose his starting job before suffering an injury.
A career journeyman with 13 NFL passes, Palko is terrible. This is his NFL starting debut and he's going against an improving Patriots defense and wily Bill Belichick, who has been known to destroy rookie quarterbacks.
How bad is Pelko? In his preseason appearances he has a 5-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He's also left-handed, which makes him even more vulnerable since tackle Barry Richardson will be on his blind side. Richardson is a huge liability in pass protection.
The Chiefs will be looking to run often, but the Patriots have shored up their rush defense.
The Chiefs rank last in sacks. Their secondary has faced either young or struggling quarterbacks. Tom Brady, with ample time to throw, should pick apart the Chiefs, which are missing their best defensive back, safety Eric Berry.
|11-20-11||Tennessee Titans v. Atlanta Falcons -6||17-23||Push||0||66 h 9 m||Show|
Falcons coach Mike Smith is in the running for bonehead coaching move of the season after having his team go for a first-down on a fourth-and-one from his own 29 in overtime against New Orleans last week.
That move, of course, backfired. Smith and the Atlanta players have been hearing about it all week. They are anxious to end their frustrations against Tennessee.
If you discount games against the Saints, the Falcons have won 20 of their last 22 regular-season home contests. They have been golden in this price range covering eight of the last 10 times they've been favored in the 3 1/2 to 10 point range at home.
Matt Ryan has a 14-to-two touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last eight November games. He has a strong history of playing much better in Georgia Dome than on the road.
The Titans have failed to cover in six of their past nine road contests. They are 6-13 ATS versus opponents with a winning record. Their passing attack is down with top receiver Kenny Britt out for the season.
The Falcons have allowed an average of 16.5 points in their last four games with three of those opponents having strong offenses - the Panthers, Lions and Saints. The Titans remain reliant on Chris Johnson, who finally showed some signs of breaking out of his season-long slump in the second half of last week's game against Carolina.
The Panthers do not have a good defense, however. The Falcons rank No. 3 in run defense. Johnson still is not close to being the back he was in 2009. The Titans don't have enough ammunition to trade points with Ryan.
|11-20-11||Seattle Seahawks v. St. Louis Rams -3||24-7||Loss||-100||49 h 44 m||Show|
Seattle is 4-12-1 ATS in its last 17 road games. So we know the Seahawks are a very bad road team. They have lost eight of their past nine away contests. The spread is low enough where you basically just need the Rams to win.
I see the Rams' offense picking up with Sam Bradford finally shaking a lingering ankle sprain. He's getting a tremendous season from Steven Jackson and finally has a top-notch wide receiver in Brandon Lloyd.
The Seahawks are missing their two best cornerbacks. Seattle's defensive strength has been its run defense. But in the last two weeks, Baltimore and Dallas combined to average 5.8 yards per run on the Seahawks gaining 238 yards on 41 carries.
Jackson returned to the lineup back on Oct. 16 after being out. Since then, he's the league's second-leading rusher with 583 yards in five games. He's put together three straight 100-yard rushing games.
The Rams have a cluster injury problem in their secondary. But the Seahawks rank 29th in total offense.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is limited by a pectoral injury and just this past week Seattle lost its right side of its offensive line with John Moffitt and James Carpenter out for the year with knee injuries. They will be replaced by Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini, which is a severe downgrade.
|11-20-11||Cincinnati Bengals v. Baltimore Ravens -6.5||Top||24-31||Win||100||46 h 41 m||Show|
It doesn't appear as if A.J. Green is going to be able to play this week after suffering a knee injury in last week's Bengals' loss to the Steelers.
That means the Bengals are going to be not only missing a key offensive player, but also a key defensive player with cornerback Leon Hall out for the year after tearing his left Achilles tendon versus Pittsburgh.
These two injuries are huge for an overachieving Bengals team that doesn't have an overabundance of talent.
Green is Andy Dalton's top receiver and first-look. Green has hauled in six of Dalton's 14 touchdown throws. Baltimore ranks in the top six in the key defensive statistical categories, including No. 3 in total defense and fewest points allowed at 16.9 per game. The Ravens have given up the fewest touchdowns through the air.
It's going to be very difficult for the run-oriented, conservative Bengals to muster many big-plays against such a strong defense being on the road and likely without Green.
The Ravens are in a foul mood after being upset at Seattle. The Ravens have played terrible on the road. Two of their road defeats occurred after beating the Steelers the previous week. They will be highly motivated for this matchup.
The key is how many points the Ravens can muster against a good Bengals defense? Hall's injury really hurts the Bengals because now they don't have the cornerback depth to play nearly as much man-to-man coverage. Hall easily was Cincinnati's top cover corner.
Joe Flacco has a history of playing much better at home. He's also better taking what defenses give him in zone coverage rather than attacking vertically. The Ravens also realize that Ray Rice has to be a bigger part of the offense again. Good things usually happen for the Ravens when they feature Rice, which will be the case here. Rice has averaged 4.5 yards per carry during his past four games against the Bengals and an average of 118 yards from scrimmage.